Friday, March 31, 2006


Cars, Shoelaces and the Nibelung's Ring

In the archive of the Rouse & Co. International China IP Express newsletter you can find this amazing post:

"Audi Face Action Over Copyright Infringement
Volkswagen Germany, Volkswagen China, Shanghai LINSHI Advertising Co., Ltd. and a well-known media company in Beijing are being sued for copyright infringement by a Mr Wu. Mr Wu has alleged that advertisements for Audi automobiles include a device consisting of four joint rings, Audi's logo, which is similar to his design of a figure consisting of four shoelaces in his own advertisement drafts called Chang Nei Pian. Mr Wu claims the defendants' advertisement has simply changed the shoelaces to rings and he is suing for copyright infringement. Mr Wu's action is asking for immediate cessation of the infringing act, for a public apology and for the defendants to pay damages of RMB 10,000 (US$1,204)." Source here.

Never mind that Audi started using the rings in 1932: "On 29th June 1932, the four Saxon motor-vehicle brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer joined forces to create Auto Union AG,..."Read more here.

The right opera for Mr Wu might be Der Ring des Nibelungen, a series of four epic operas of Wagner (who was already on the wrong side before World War II even had started). A Nibelung in German mythology is any of the race of dwarfs who possessed a treasure hoard that was stolen by Siegfried, see source. So Mr Wu can imagine that his treasure was stolen by Audi. There was no happy ending for Siegfried, however Audi is still selling cars with the four interlinked circles in China. I don't know if this means that my assumption that Mr Wu made his shoelaced circles after 1932 is right or that he created them before and the case is still pending. Either way, not to worry, Mr Wu, you can always sue the International Olympic Committee for copyright infringement.

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